All Posts By

Web Administrator

Feta Cheese on Plate

Parkinson’s Disease and Nutrition

By | Health and Wellness | No Comments

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a chronic movement disorder. PD involves the failure and death of vital nerve cells in the brain, called neurons. Some of these neurons produce dopamine, a chemical involved in bodily movements and coordination. As PD progresses, the amount of dopamine produced in the brain decreases, leaving a person unable to control movement normally.

Primary motor signs of Parkinson’s disease include the following:

  • Tremor of the hands, arms, legs, jaw, and face
  • Bradykinesia or slowness of movement
  • Rigidity or stiffness of the limbs and trunk
  • Postural instability or impaired balance and coordination

Common nutritional concerns for people with Parkinson’s disease are:

  • Unplanned weight loss
  • Difficulty eating due to uncontrollable movements
  • Swallowing dysfunction
  • Constipation
  • Medication side effects (e.g., dry mouth)

Nutritional concerns vary by individual based on signs and symptoms and stages of disease. It is important to work closely with a doctor or dietitian to determine specific recommendations.

When it comes to nutrition, what matters most?

  • Increase calories. If a tremor is present, calorie needs are much higher. Adding sources of fat to foods (e.g., oil and cheese) is one way to do this.
  • Maintain a balanced diet. Eating properly involves eating regularly. If uncontrollable movements or swallowing difficulties are making it hard to eat, seek the advice of an occupational or speech therapist.
  • Maintain bowel regularity. Do so with foods high in fiber (whole grain bread, bran cereals or muffins, fruits and vegetables, beans and legumes) and drinking plenty of fluids.
  • Balance medications and food. Individuals taking carvidopa-levadopa may need to adjust the amount of protein eaten and the time of day it is eaten, or take their medication with orange juice. If side effects such as dry mouth are making it difficult to eat, work with a health care professional to help manage these.
  • Adjust nutritional priorities for your situation and stage of disease.

Check with a dietitian or doctor for your specific dietary needs.

Farmers Market

Stroke and Nutrition

By | Health and Wellness | No Comments

A stroke occurs when there is a change in the flow of blood to the brain that leads to a change in and/or loss of function. Some risk factors for stroke include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Stress
  • Family history
  • Health conditions including diabetes, heart disease, and obesity
  • Lifestyle factors, such as a diet high in fat and cholesterol, lack of exercise, and smoking

The effects of a stroke can vary, and depend on the location of the damage in the brain and the amount of damage. There may be changes in behavior or the ability to perform daily activities. Some individuals may find it more difficult to feed themselves or swallow. If these problems are present, an Occupational Therapist can help with self feeding, while a Speech Therapist can help with swallowing problems. A doctor can help determine appropriate treatment options.

Healthy eating may help with weight and blood pressure management, which can help to prevent another stroke. In general, healthy eating involves:

  • Low sodium: to help control blood pressure.
  • Plenty of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat dairy products: to help keep blood pressure under control.
  • Choosing heart-healthy fats: such as soybean, canola, olive, or flaxseed oil over saturated fats and trans fats to reduce the buildup of plaque in your blood vessels.

There are many ways to incorporate healthy eating into your diet. Some ways to start include:

  • Choose foods with less than 300 milligrams (mg) of sodium per serving.
  • Use herbs and spices, or herb mixes (e.g., Mrs. Dash) to flavor food.
  • Choose carefully when eating out. Restaurant foods can be high in sodium.
  • Choose fiber-rich foods. These include fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Choose fruits like bananas, oranges, cantaloupe, and apples, and vegetables like sweet potatoes, spinach, zucchini, and tomatoes. Whole grains include whole wheat bread products, oatmeal, brown rice, and quinoa.
  • Eat fatty, cold-water fish (e.g., salmon, mackerel, and sardines) twice a week. These provide heart healthy fats. Try to choose fresh or frozen varieties, as canned may be too high in sodium.
  • Limit saturated fat and trans fat. Saturated fats are found mostly in animal foods, foods made with animal products, or fried foods. Trans fats are found in meat and foods that contain hydrogenated oils (e.g., peanut butter and margarine).
  • Limit cholesterol from food to 200 mg per day. Foods high in cholesterol include egg yolks, shrimp, and full fat dairy foods.

Check with a dietitian or doctor for your specific dietary needs.

Shakers of Seeds

Diverticulosis and Nutrition

By | Health and Wellness | No Comments

Diverticulosis is a chronic condition where there are sac-like pouches protruding from the large intestine. When these pouches become inflamed or infected, the condition is then known as diverticulitis.

The most commonly suspected cause of diverticulosis is a low fiber diet. Consuming low fiber can lead to constipation, which can make it difficult to pass stool and lead to straining. This straining can put pressure on the colon, which may lead to the development of the sac-like pouches. Individuals with diverticulosis should consume a high fiber diet to prevent constipation. A high fiber diet should include an additional 6 to 10 grams of fiber beyond what is typically recommended (25 to 35 grams a day). Foods high in fiber include:

  • Brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, oatmeal, and other grains
  • Fruits such as prunes, apples, bananas, and pears
  • Popcorn
  • Fruit and vegetables with skin/peel on
  • Beans, peas, and legumes
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Whole grain breads, pastas, crackers, and cereal Previous recommendations include avoidance of nuts, seeds, and hulls. There is no evidence to show this contributes to the development of diverticulitis, therefore the current nutrition recommendations focus on increased fiber.

When the sac-like pouches become inflamed or infected, your doctor may recommend no foods by mouth to allow your large intestine to rest. As you begin eating foods again you should slowly begin with low fiber foods that are easy to digest. Foods low in fiber include:

  • Tender well-cooked meats
  • Eggs
  • Smooth peanut butter
  • Tofu
  • Cream of wheat and grits
  • Refined grains such as white bread and cereals made with white flour
  • Canned and/or well-cooked vegetables or vegetable juice
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Canned, soft, and/or well-cooked fruit, or fruit juice without pulp
  • Broth

As the infection and inflammation heals, fiber can slowly be added back into the diet.

Check with a dietitian or doctor for your specific dietary needs.

Tea Party

Stroke and Nutrition

By | Health and Wellness | No Comments

A stroke occurs when there is a change in the flow of blood to the brain that leads to a change in and/or loss of function. Some risk factors for stroke include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Stress
  • Family history
  • Health conditions including diabetes, heart disease, and obesity
  • Lifestyle factors, such as a diet high in fat and cholesterol, lack of exercise, and smoking

The effects of a stroke can vary, and depend on the location of the damage in the brain and the amount of damage. There may be changes in behavior or the ability to perform daily activities. Some individuals may find it more difficult to feed themselves or swallow. If these problems are present, an Occupational Therapist can help with self feeding, while a Speech Therapist can help with swallowing problems. A doctor can help determine appropriate treatment options.

Healthy eating may help with weight and blood pressure management, which can help to prevent another stroke. In general, healthy eating involves:

  • Low sodium: to help control blood pressure.
  • Plenty of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat dairy products: to help keep blood pressure under control.
  • Choosing heart-healthy fats: such as soybean, canola, olive, or flaxseed oil over saturated fats and trans fats to reduce the buildup of plaque in your blood vessels.

There are many ways to incorporate healthy eating into your diet. Some ways to start include:

  • Choose foods with less than 300 milligrams (mg) of sodium per serving.
  • Use herbs and spices, or herb mixes (e.g., Mrs. Dash) to flavor food.
  • Choose carefully when eating out. Restaurant foods can be high in sodium.
  • Choose fiber-rich foods. These include fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Choose fruits like bananas, oranges, cantaloupe, and apples, and vegetables like sweet potatoes, spinach, zucchini, and tomatoes. Whole grains include whole wheat bread products, oatmeal, brown rice, and quinoa.
  • Eat fatty, cold-water fish (e.g., salmon, mackerel, and sardines) twice a week. These provide heart healthy fats. Try to choose fresh or frozen varieties, as canned may be too high in sodium.
  • Limit saturated fat and trans fat. Saturated fats are found mostly in animal foods, foods made with animal products, or fried foods. Trans fats are found in meat and foods that contain hydrogenated oils (e.g., peanut butter and margarine).
  • Limit cholesterol from food to 200 mg per day. Foods high in cholesterol include egg yolks, shrimp, and full fat dairy foods.

Check with a dietitian or doctor for your specific dietary needs.

Bowl of Fruit

Cancer and Nutrition

By | Health and Wellness | No Comments

Cancer begins when cells in the body become abnormal. As these cells duplicate, a mass of tissue made of abnormal cells forms and is called a tumor. Normal cells grow and divide and know to stop growing. Over time, they also die. Unlike these normal cells, cancer cells continue to multiply and do not die when they are supposed to. If the tumor gets bigger, it can damage nearby tissues and organs. Cancer cells can also break away and spread to other parts of the body.
Nutrition is important for both cancer prevention and treatment. If diagnosed with cancer, there are numerous treatments that can be utilized, all of which can cause side effects capable of affecting nutrition. Some effects of cancer treatments include:

  • Fatigue: Get plenty of rest, and if unable to eat large amounts, choose calorie-dense foods (e.g., butter, cheese, ice cream, and milkshakes)
  • Nausea and vomiting: Avoid excessive exposure to the smell of food, and take medications with food if able
  • Taste changes: Stay well hydrated (this can be linked to dry mouth) and eat citrus foods to stimulate saliva production
  • Dry mouth or thick saliva: Stay well hydrated and try sucking on ice chips
  • Sore mouth or sore throat: Pick soft, easy-to-chew foods; add gravy and sauce to food
  • Diarrhea: Drink plenty of fluids, choose low-fiber foods, and avoid irritating foods (e.g., dairy, sugar, and spicy foods)
  • Constipation: Eat fiber-rich foods and stay well hydrated
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss: Choose calorie-dense foods (e.g., butter, cheese, ice cream, and milkshakes)

There are also unique side effects that can vary depending on the location of the
cancer. For example:

  • Head and neck cancer may lead to chewing difficulties
  • Colon cancer may be associated with more gastrointestinal-related side effects (e.g., diarrhea)
  • Lung cancer may lead to an increase in shortness of breath, which can make eating more difficult

Nutrition is also important for cancer survivors, as well as those looking to prevent cancer. The following guidelines can help minimize the risk for cancer:

  • Eat plant-based foods (e.g., fruits, vegetables, and whole grains).
  • Be physically active for at least 30 minutes a day.
  • Avoid sugary drinks and excessive energy-dense foods (e.g., chips, cookies, and candy).
  • Limit consumption of red meats (e.g., beef, pork, and lamb)
  • Limit consumption of processed meats (e.g., bacon, sausage, and salami)
  • If consuming alcohol, keep it to 2 drinks/day for men and 1 for woman
  • Avoid excessive salt consumption

Check with a dietitian or doctor for your specific dietary needs.

strawberry dessert

Nutrition for Bone Health

By | Health and Wellness | No Comments

Many factors contribute to the health of our bones, including gender, race, age, and nutrition. Osteoporosis is a condition characterized by weakened and fragile bones, increasing the risk for fractures. Good nutrition can help prevent osteoporosis, including plenty of calcium and vitamin D. Most people need about 1,000 mg of calcium a day, or about 3-4 servings of dairy, including:

  • Milk (whole, skim, soy, and almond)
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Yogurt

Foods with lower levels of calcium include:

  • Dark greens (e.g., kale and collards)
  • Salmon
  • Almonds
  • Fortified cereals

The body produces vitamin D when exposed to the sun; however reliance on this is not recommended as many people do not get enough sun exposure to produce 100% of their vitamin D needs. Foods rich in vitamin D include:

  • Fortified cereals
  • Milk
  • Fortified juice
  • Egg yolks
  • Cod liver oil
  • Fatty fish (salmon and mackerel)

It is very important to consume a variety of foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats, as these different foods have additional nutrients to improve bone health:

  • Vitamin K: Green leafy vegetables (e.g., spinach, kale, Swiss chard, turnip greens, collards, mustard greens, romaine, and parsley).
  • Vitamin C: Oranges and orange juice, grapefruit, red peppers, broccoli, kiwis, strawberries, and other fruits and vegetables.
  • Magnesium: Nuts (e.g., almonds and cashews), cooked spinach, raisin bran cereal, brown rice, peanut butter, and baked potatoes (with skin).
  • Protein: Both animal sources (e.g., meat, fish, eggs, and milk) and nonanimal sources (e.g., beans, lentils, nuts, and seeds).
  • Zinc: Lean beef, breakfast cereal, cashews, Swiss cheese, and milk.

Regular exercise can also help to further strengthen bones, especially weight bearing exercise. Weight bearing exercise is activity that forces your bones and muscles to work against gravity. Different types of weight bearing exercises include brisk walking, jogging, hiking, soccer, basketball, dancing, tennis, skiing, bowling, and weight training (using free weights or machines).

 

See a doctor or dietitian for your specific nutrition needs.

Grapefruit

Nutrition for Dementia and Alzheimer’s

By | Alzheimer's and Dementia, Health and Wellness | No Comments

Dementia is the loss of memory, cognitive reasoning, awareness of environment, judgment, abstract thinking, or the ability to perform activities of daily living. The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, a type of dementia that involves slowly developing symptoms that get worse over time. Dementia resulting from vitamin deficiencies, or caused by underlying disease (such as brain tumors and infections) may be reversible. Other forms of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia, are not reversible, and are often treated with medications.

As dementia progresses, changes can occur that may affect someone’s ability to obtain adequate food and nutrients to maintain their health status. Such changes will vary depending on the type of dementia, as well as the stage of the disease. Some of these changes include:

  • Altered sense of smell and/or taste
  • Inability to recognize food or distinguish between food and non-food items
  • Poor appetite
  • Chewing difficulties (pocketing food, repetitive chewing, etc.)
  • Swallowing difficulties
  • Forgetting to eat
  • Shortened attention span leading to a loss of interest in eating
  • Difficulty using eating utensils
  • Increase in pacing or walking
  • Drug side effects

The symptoms of dementia vary, and the treatment and nutrition care should be determined by these symptoms. Some techniques to consider for continued delivery of food and nutrition include:

  • Provide kind reminders to eat.
  • Provide meals in a low stress environment, minimizing noise and visual
  • distractions.
  • Develop a meal routine that can be repeated over time, to provide meals at
  • similar times, or even similar meals every day.
  • Have someone eat with the individual to provide assistance and reminders
  • on how to eat.
  • Have family join the individual at meal times to encourage eating.
  • Pay attention to other health issues, such as infections, fevers, injuries, or
  • other illnesses, as these may increase food and fluid needs.
  • Provide well-liked food and drinks to encourage eating.
  • Limit the amount of food served at one time so as not to overwhelm.

Provide finger-type foods for individuals struggling to use utensils:

  • Hamburgers
  • French fries
  • Carrot sticks

Check with a dietitian or doctor for any specific dietary needs.

Columbus Ohio Hospice Caregivers

Caring for the Caregiver

By | Caregiving | No Comments

Many baby boomers are learning the true definition of the word caregiver.  As your parents, and in my case grandparents are requiring more than just a quick visit every other day or so.  My grandmother is 96 and lives on her own in the family home I grew up.  That sounds great and trust me it is, but all that is required that goes smoothly can be draining, especially when only a few of many family members help out.  You quickly find yourself stressed, and both mentally and physically drained.

Caring for a loved one can be very rewarding, but it also involves stressors.  Caregivers stress can be particularly damaging, since it is typically a chronic long-term challenge.  If you do not get the physical and emotional support you need, the stress of caregiving leaves you vulnerable to a wide range of problems, including depression, anxiety, and burnout.  Moreover, when you reach that point, both you and the person you are caring for suffer.

Learning to recognize the signs of caregiver stress and burnout is the first step to dealing with the problem.

Common signs and symptoms of caregiver stress:

  • Feeling tired and rundown
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • New or worsening health problems
  • Overreacting to minor nuisances
  • Anxiety, depression, irritability
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Feeling increasingly resentful
  • Cutting back on leisure activities

Common signs and symptoms of caregiver burnout:

  • You have much less energy than you once had
  • It seems like you catch every cold or flu that is going around
  • You neglect your own needs, either because you are too busy or you do not care anymore
  • Your life revolves around caregiving, but it gives you little satisfaction
  • You have trouble relaxing, even when help is available
  • You feel helpless and hopeless
  • You are increasingly impatient and irritable with the person you are caring for

Taking on all the responsibilities of caregiving without regular breaks or assistance is a recipe for burnout.  Never hesitate to ask family and friends for help.  Be sure to schedule regular check-ups for yourself to stay on top of lurking health issues.  Be willing to relinquish some control.

Columbus Ohio Hospice Services

Hospice Has No Age Requirement

By | Lifestyle | No Comments

Too many people think that “hospice” services are only for people with cancer or only for older adults.  Hospice services deal with a wide array of conditions and situations dealing with end-of-life issues, all geared towards maintaining the best quality of life while providing the best quality of care.

Hospice care in Columbus, Ohio is available regardless of race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, religious belief, diagnosis or disability.  Hospice at Methodist ElderCare in Columbus does require that those seeking hospice care services with them be at least 18 years or older.  They can refer you to hospice professionals if you need services for someone needing hospice care who is less than 18 years of age.

Let’s clear up some misunderstandings you may have about hospice:

  • Hospice is not just for the last few days or the last two weeks. Hospice is designed to care for the patient and family during the last months of life.  Hospice is not a “crisis” service.  Patients and families should ask their doctor whether curative treatment will work, and what burden it will place on the patient.  An early hospice admission helps the patient and family get full benefit of hospice services, including emotional support and family services.
  • You may continue to see your own doctors, whether for your terminal illness or other illnesses.
  • Hospice is not just for the elderly or just for Medicare patients. Hospice serves adults of all ages.
  • Hospice does not conflict with the beliefs of any major religion. All faiths recognize the value of spiritual support, pain relief, symptom management and counseling during the final phase of life.
  • You need not be homebound to receive hospice care. Many patients are out-and-about at times, and some make trips while under hospice care.
  • You may leave hospice care at any time. If you would like to return to curative treatment, discuss it with your hospice team. You will be eligible to re-enter hospice at any time without penalty.

To have all your questions and concerns answered about hospice care and who qualifies for services, call Kenya George at Hospice Services at Methodist ElderCare today at 614-705-0892 or email her at kgeorge@mecsrc.com.  Don’t allow unanswered questions to keep you or a loved one from services that are available through hospice that could help your quality of life.

Hospice Care in Columbus Ohio

Hospice is Not a Place. It is High Quality Care.

By | Lifestyle | No Comments

When you hear the word hospice, what is your first thought? Before my family needed the services hospice offers, I thought it was a service offered in a hospital setting. It was recommended for my mother, and we were given the option to keep her at home, which made her feel more comfortable being in her own surroundings.

Many people have the wrong idea about hospice care. Hospice helps people with a life-limiting illness focus on living as fully as possible for as long as possible.

The hospice philosophy focuses on providing comfort and compassionate care not only to the patient, but also their loved ones by meeting their physical, social, emotional and spiritual needs. Hospice is not a place; it is a service and a philosophy of care recognizing death as the final stage of life.

Here are some hospice myths and realities that may help if you or a loved one is trying to decide whether hospice is the best option for you.

Myth: Hospice means that the patient will soon die.

Reality: Receiving hospice care does not mean giving up hope or that death is imminent. The earlier an individual receives hospice care, the more opportunity there is to stabilize a patient’s medical condition and address other needs.

Myth: Hospice is only for cancer patients.

Reality: A large number of hospice patients have congestive heart failure, Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, chronic lung disease, or other conditions.

Myth: Patients can only receive hospice care for a limited amount of time.

Reality: The Medicare benefit, Medicaid and most private insurances, pay for hospice care as long as the patient continues to meet the necessary criteria. Patients may come off hospice care, and re-enroll in hospice care, as needed.

Myth: Hospice provides 24-hour care.

Reality: The hospice team (which includes nurses, social workers, home health aides, volunteers, chaplains, and bereavement counselors) visits patients intermittently, and is available 24 hours a day/7 days a week for support and care.

Myth: All hospice programs are the same.

Reality: All licensed hospice programs must provide certain services, but the range of support services and programs may differ. In addition, hospice programs and operating styles may vary from state to state depending on state laws and regulations. Like other medical care providers, business models differ. Some programs are not-for-profit and some hospices are for-profit.

Myth: Hospice is just for the patient.

Reality: Hospice focuses on comfort, dignity, and emotional support. The quality of life for the patient, and also family members and others, who are caregivers, is the highest priority.

Research has shown people receiving hospice care can live longer than similar patients who do not opt for hospice. If this information about hospice surprises you, take the time to find out more by calling one of our hospice specialists at Hospice Services at Methodist ElderCare at 614-705-0840.